On this Republic Day, as we salute and celebrate the making of the Constitution of India, I remember the 2001 earthquake, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where many tall buildings fell, some of them face down like a pack of cards.

The reason for the fall? Weak foundations!

Today as loftier and lankier buildings speck the Indian skies, one finds that before these skyscrapers get started, the deeper go the foundations and much labour and lots of material is used to make the foundation so solid, so strong that the building above, which will soon rise, can climb to glorious heights, resting assured on a sound, sturdy and secure base.

Later, we, the public, marvel at the alluring architecture, beautiful balconies, soaring height and glamorous design.


All this progressive work or design will only remain if the foundation is sound.

What happens if after some years the residents bring in a new contractor, who struts around with his fifty-six inch chest and says, “We need to fiddle with the foundation!” Sounds foolish isn’t it?

“I can make the building even more beautiful! It will be the envy of the world!” he shouts.

“How?” ask the majority of the delighted residents.

“By changing the foundation! Moving away this load bearing pile, taking out a column and using sand, sticks and stones!”

And the majority of the people, dreaming and envisaging a transformed edifice, agree.

You and I can only imagine what will happen as the contractor starts his work!

We are living in such a building right now. A building called India! Built on a Constitution, strong, robust and durable! Over the years, this building we live in has stood tall and formidable compared to the ones built around us: Buildings constructed by Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, all erected around the same time, but which fall again and again and again.

Ours stands tall!

And then one day we hear the contractor’s cry, “I have changed the foundation!” he shouts, “No beams, no pillars, only sand, sticks and stones, like how structures were put up in our glorious medieval times!”

“The building is shaking?” whisper the residents.

“Keep dreaming, keep dreaming!” mutters the contractor smiling at his assistant.

And the building shakes and totters as Mr Contractor and his assistant change the very foundation that has kept us strong, sturdy and strapping, till now!

On this Republic Day, as we remember the 2001 earthquake in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, other stories have started and which model we have to emulate, many tall buildings fell, some of them face down like a pack of cards, let us vow to keep our time tested Foundation called our Constitution intact...!

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